Published: 08:00, 07 August 2014
Susannah Townsend has run the full range of emotions since losing a Commonwealth Games hockey gold medal shootout but says the hurt has been replaced by pride.
The 25-year-old midfielder, returning to Canterbury Hockey Club this summer after a season at Reading, impressed in Glasgow, netting in the 2-1 group stage win against Scotland.
Other victories, against Malaysia and Wales and a 3-0 defeat against Australia saw England qualify second in their group to set up a semi-final against New Zealand on Friday night.
England conceded an agonising late equaliser which sent the game to penalties. However, an inspired showing from keeper Maddie Hinch led to a 4-1 shootout success, guaranteed a medal and ensured a rematch against Australia in Saturday night’s final.
This time England were just 11 seconds from their first ever Commonwealth gold when the Australians scrambled a leveller and there was no repeat of the penalty shootout success, as Australia ran out 3-1 winners.
Townsend – part of the England team which could only finish 11th at the World Cup in Holland in June – said: “If someone had offered me a silver medal, maybe even a bronze, after the summer we’ve had, I probably would have taken it because taking a Commonwealth medal is what every athlete wants to do.
“What disappointed me is that we came so close to the gold but we played well and defended exceptionally. When you look at the last couple of months and our history against Australia, we haven’t done well against them.
“Because we came so close, that’s what makes it so hard but I already look back on it and a silver is an incredible thing.”
Having targeted a world medal in Den Haag earlier in the summer, only to fall well short, Townsend claimed: “We’ve come a long way in the last couple of months. We are coming back on top.
“Our aim firstly is to qualify for Rio and then do well there. You see the stuff posted this week about two years until Rio.
“We have a massive job to qualify. You look ahead and think we can go there and do well but short-term you have to think about focusing on little things that make a difference to qualifying.”
Townsend – who won her 50th cap against New Zealand – admitted to having a tear in her eye when England’s men ended their run of fourth-place finishes with a bronze, on Sunday.
She said: “The silver medallist is always someone who’s upset after. It’s a horrible feeling at that time but soon you look at it and you’ve won a silver.
“You’re happy if you win a bronze as you’ve finished on a high but you can’t have it both ways. At the time silver was devastating but when you get your medal, you’re a little happier.”
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